Cranberry Sangria is a refreshing holiday sangria with fruity red wine, fresh cranberries and warm cinnamon spice. It’s perfect for entertaining!
The past few years it’s taken me a while to get into the Christmas spirit, but this year I’m all in already. I’ve already done a decent amount of shopping, and I plan to start baking Christmas cookies and treats this week to give away to friends and family early.
Ideally, I’ll get rid of most of my baking to keep the damage to a minimum. 🙂
For the time being, I’ll steer clear of cookies and toast Christmas with this ultra festive and refreshing Cranberry Sangria!
I’ve had visions of this cranberry sangria in my head for a while and I’m so happy that I finally made it happen. Red wine sangria is such a great way to utilize all of the beautiful fresh cranberries that are in season right now.
Normally I’m pretty boring as far as cocktails go — hand me a glass of red wine and I’m good. Every now and then I stray from the norm and drink a margarita, mule or sangria and pray that it’s not too sweet.
There’s nothing worse than a cocktail that’s so full of sugar that you can’t taste anything else!
The best part about making cocktails at home is that you can control the sweetness. It’s so fun to get creative with seasonal ingredients and change things up to suit your own tastes.
How to make Cranberry Sangria
Sangria is one of the easiest cocktails to make. It’s all assembled in advance which makes it perfect for entertaining, and it’s a crowd pleaser.
To make this easy cranberry sangria, simply slice your fruit and muddle it into the bottom of your serving pitcher. Note that I did not muddle the fresh cranberries as they’re quite tart.
Once you muddle the fruit, add the cranberries, juices, cointreau or brandy, granulated sugar, cinnamon sticks and red wine, and stir until well combined.
Store in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours and up to a few days. The longer the flavors in your cranberry sangria meld together, the better it will taste.
What type of wine should I use?
Fruity, full bodied red wines are best in this Cranberry Sangria recipe because they pair well with the deep, tart flavor of the cranberry juice and warm cinnamon spice.
Fruity red wines include zinfandel, merlot, beaujolais and pinot noir. Red blends would be a great choice as well, as they’re normally a mix of fruity reds.
Bear in mind that whatever type of wine you choose, it should be of drinkable quality. You shouldn’t use an expensive bottle as it will get lost in the other ingredients, but it should be a bottle of wine that you enjoy drinking.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
I used 100% cranberry juicy from concentrate in this recipe, which only had 7 grams of sugar per serving. If you use a sweeter cranberry juice, scale back on the granulated sugar or your sangria may be too sweet. You can always add sugar if you need to later!
I used cointreau in this recipe as it has a mild orange flavor. You may also use brandy, orange liqueur or Grand Marnier as well.
This cranberry sangria is the perfect holiday sangria — serve it for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years. You can also make it a sparkling cranberry sangria by topping it off with sparkling water.
More inspiring holiday cocktails:
- 2 large oranges, divided
- 1 medium apple, plus apple slices for serving
- 1 cup fresh cranberries, plus more for serving
- 1 cup cranberry juice (I used 100% from concentrate which was low in sugar)
- 1/4 cup brandy or cointreau
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bottle fruity red wine*
- Slice the apple and one of the oranges, then place in the bottom of a large pitcher and muddle well.
- Juice the remaining orange, which will yield about 1/2 cup of juice, and add to the pitcher along with the fresh cranberries, cointreau or brandy, granulated sugar, cinnamon sticks and wine. Stir well and cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. The longer the flavors meld together, the better the sangria will taste.
- Before serving, stir well and taste. Add more sugar if necessary and stir until the sugar has just about dissolved.
- Serve with additional orange and apple slices, fresh cranberries and cinnamon sticks if desired. Enjoy!
- *Be sure that the wine you use is good, drinkable quality. While you don't want to use one that's too expensive, you want to use one that you enjoy drinking by the glass. A deep, fruity flavored wine is ideal in this sangria -- just use your favorite!
- The cranberry juice that I used was 100% from concentrate and only contained 7 grams of sugar per serving. Check the label for the sugar content of your cranberry juice -- if it's higher you may not need to add any additional sugar depending on how sweet you prefer your sangria to be.
- This sangria may be made a few days in advance -- the longer it sits the better it is!
- Make this a sparkling cranberry sangria by topping it off with sparkling water when ready to serve.